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The Disappearance of Finbar Review

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Finbar, a moody Dublin teenager, either jumps or falls off a half-built flyover near the place he hates to call home. Presuming him dead, the community rally round and make a big fuss. However, Finbar's pal, Danny, receives a phonecall from him years later and starts a hot pursuit of him across Scandanavia.

★★★★★

This ambitious and sloppy, yet occasionally likeable, cross-European fable about people losing touch with one another had been sitting on the shelf for two years. However, its arrival on screens is largely due to the appearance of Rhys Meyers, in this his third film of the month (after Velvet Goldmine and The Governess).

In this, Meyers bounces with feckless energy as Finbar, a moody Dublin teenager who either jumps or falls off a half-built flyover near the dead-end housing estate he hates to call home and vanishes into the night. His mother mourns, an action committee is formed and a pop song released - but it's three years before his pal Danny (Griffin) receives a slurred night-time phone call. From Stockholm.

Really, the film's soul belongs to Danny, its narrator and an effective anchor, who winds up searching as much for himself as his lost friend. Shrugging off the attentions of a local sleuth (McGinley), Danny sets off to track down Finbar in Scandinavia where he's given the runaround by a string of eccentric locals until he's deposited in Lapplands, an Arctic world populated by booze-fuelled eccentrics on snow-scooters. There, he not only finds love with a reindeer herder, but makes an even more surprising discovery.

Music plays a large part in the proceedings, most of it incongruous - country and western in Ireland and the tango in Lappland - and largely incidental to the plot. Although Clayton's film is a muddle, it's not without touches of (Jarmusch-like) absurd humour and enchanting warmth once we leave behind the dull and lengthy scene-setting in Ireland and move into road-movie mode.

Although Clayton's film is a muddle, it's not without touches of (Jarmusch-like) absurd humour and enchanting warmth once we leave behind the dull and lengthy scene-setting in Ireland and move into road-movie mode.